Tuesday, May 22, 2012


My boys. These boys. Calum & Oliver. What can I say, they are my boys. They can live here until I die. They can dig as many holes in the yard as they want. They can eat as many Goldfish and cheese sticks as their child-sized bellies can hold. They can burp. They can smell like sweat. I don't care. And I won't care, especially if they continue to quietly support, encourage, and love their sisters as they did so honestly today. Let me explain.

Today was full of excitement and motion, as most days are around here. Tuesdays are Pizza Day at school and this means I have an extra half-hour or so to give the kids some latitude and space. With Mommy's calm mood and extra shot of patience, Ella usually prepares breakfast on Tuesdays. Today was oatmeal. I've made oatmeal once every week for the last two years. Ella makes it today and both boys stand as audience, offering their encouragement and accolades. Once said oatmeal is cooled (by ten minutes of constant blowing and one lightheaded mother,) the boys 'mmmm-mmmm' and 'so good' their way through their bowls, with a 'Thank you' at the end. They were spot on....having little to do with the oatmeal and much to do with their oldest sister needed a few extra strokes today, Calum & Oliver delivered the sweet. Nothing was ever said. No one had a meltdown to which the boys were responding. Nope. It was just the unspoken connection between siblings. When one needs a lift, the others are there. Next example...

The twins and I had plans for a play date after school drop-off. I admit, these youngest two have it good. WAY way good. Did Ella get Popsicles at three? No. Were Ella and Calum ever allowed to stay up past 830? Hell no. Number three and number four get the best of us. We are calm parents after four. Calm or brain-dead (we often try to define the difference), either way, I love the parent I've become after these years...mostly. One thing to improve is getting these youngest kids out of our house. Today we were headed out for a play date. It was the best kind of play date - just my two and one other; the kids all familiar with one another. My peer, a close close friend. I even had the kitchen cleaned before leaving. It was unfolding to be the perfect morning. And then they crept in. Nerves. Anxiety. Fear. We know these mates well here in the Levy family. Anxiety runs as thick as blood. But this morning it caught me off guard, for the one that was anxious was NOT the nervous kind.

Drew started to hedge. She was nervous. Most days, she takes no prisoners and has little use for fools, but she is her father's daughter - a creature of habit. And she was leaving her domain, her kingdom, her fortress, for another. Thankfully, her prince was beside her. As they both shuffled down the back steps, Oliver popped his fingers out of his mouth, did the obligatory slobber wipe-off on his shorts, and took her hand, saying 'Don't worry Drew-Drew. You 'wuv' Sydney [the friend we were headed to see] and I am coming too.' And with that, her confidence returned and we were off. It was a great morning and yet, the best was yet to come.

Fast forward several hours and you find my four surrounding a large bucket that has been made into a makeshift hospital bed. We found an injured bird in our driveway. I noticed the bird around lunchtime. No one else noticed the bird until we got home from school. Ella spotted the injured avian before turning into the drive. This child, my oldest, has this innate ability to sense trauma and can easily channel the EMTs from across her extended family as she micro-manages a rescue scene. It wasn't long before the injured dove had a safe and comfortable resting area - safe from our neighborhood predators (cats, hawks, and Mr. McGregor and his hoe, ie BB Gun.) She secured birdseed and water, and sat with that bird trying to anticipate its very next move. And by 'move' I mean sad flapping and falling over. I have no idea what happened to that poor bird but it was broken, and I needed to figure out a way to fix it. This being said, I am well-aware of my limits and veterinarian far surpasses my expertise. I quickly made some calls and had a name and address for a wildlife rehab person.

I popped outside with excitement and told the children our plans....eat dinner, load the kids and this dove - the symbol for peace, as Ella discovered in her encyclopedia while trying to learn 'everything I can about this special bird, Mommy!' - and deliver the injured animal to the rehab person. It seemed perfect, and full of learning potential.

Enter heartbreak. Enter that life-lesson of giving something up in order to take care of it. Enter the drama of a six year old. The tears flow. The wailing ensues. 'My bird.. My bird.... What ever will happen with my bird...' I'm used to this, and so are the kids. We all just take deep breaths and roll with the emotional waves. It's fine. It's cool. It's Ella. We know her well. We also love her very, very much. The patter never clearer than tonight when her brother, Calum, commended her bed-building - 'you made a really good bed, Ei' (pronounced 'eye'...I don't know why. He's called her this since he started making sounds) and commended her nurturing, 'Look, Ei, the bird isn't flapping around. I think you made it feel safe.' And as he patiently waited for her to catch her breath and regain some emotional control, and when she did saying, 'You really do know how to fix things, Ella, just like doc mcstuffins. You are so cool and you're not even a cartoon. You are real.' As he said all these wise things, giving her the very words she needed to mend her little heart, he gave her the exact gift exchanged just hours earlier by the youngest two. He gave her the gift of presence, and unconditional love. She could be scared, and sad, and freely feel this way because it was ok. He was with her. He was her wingman. And isn't that ALL a girl really wants, in any boy. We all just want an emotional wingman.

Fear not, father of two teenage girls. There will be two teenage boys keeping things in check. And at present, they are both doing a fine, fine job.

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